Climate change is a permanent change of climate from the previous climatic conditions due to human interference on the atmosphere. Climate change as defined by Crispin Tickell (1977) is any long term change in the average weather of regions on the planet earth. These have resulted to the increase in temperature worldwide resulting to climate change. The most probable cause of global warming is anthropogenic factors for instance the use of aerosols, fossil fuel burning, poor methods of agricultural practices, biomass burning, wanton forest destruction which have led to the emission of greenhouses gases, heat-trapping gases like methane and carbon dioxide. This has greatly contributed to the strong recent upward trend in world average temperatures hence climate change and global warming. As a result of global warming, the earth gets hotter, disasters like hurricane, drought and floods occurs frequently (Crispin 54).
Global warming is temperature increase in the earth which is believed to be caused by the effect of greenhouse which is the excessive release of gases and the depletion of the ozone layer due to the release of chlorofluorocarbons and halocarbons to the atmosphere. Industry and agriculture are human activities that have contributed to global warming. Scientists believe that four weather cycles that are almost identical and lasted over 100,000 years each over the last 400,000 years where it was cold during each of the cycles for almost the same period of time they lasted. After that, there were warmer periods of temperature that lasted between 10 to 20 thousand years. The average temperatures experienced were compared to the present times. A natural global warming cycle is noted due to the fact that there was a year to year fluctuation of temperature as well as the increase of temperature gradually.
Climate change in the past few years was as a result of the cyclic variation of the earth’s orbit around the sun due to the fact that the amount of energy being received by the earth from the sun has changed. The variations have created long astronomic seasons which are similar to the regular seasons, though they are lasting. They have also generated ice ages (winter) and warm periods (summer) being experienced at present. The arctic region is an important factor to note since the slightest temperature rise can melt the earth’s permafrost (frozen ground since the last ice age period). When this happens, dead plants, materials, and other organic compound layers in the soil will begin to decay creating carbon dioxide and methane gases which are byproducts. The release into the atmosphere of more greenhouse gases creates a vicious cycle hence snowballing global warming. Eruption of volcanic mountains also brings about greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (Chyba & Sagan 200).
Scientists have compiled a report detailing the effects of global warming and have indicated that the developing countries will continue suffering for they are geographically likely to encounter more harsh conditions since they do not have the right equipments to deal with the health hazards. It has been proven scientifically that climatic change is most likely due to the concentration of greenhouse gases. The most urgent measure of mitigation for States in reducing these gases will be to take into account their common yet differentiated responsibilities internationally in achieving their quantified limitation emission and reduction of commitments. Mitigation measures need to be considered and implemented urgently.
The Potential Effects:
Climate changes likely to occur on marine, sea level, and coastal ecosystem include the increase in coastal erosion, extensive flooding of the coast, high storm surging, and high temperatures of the sea surface. Forests will be affected by the climatic changes since they are dependent on the temperature and precipitation for its growth. The functioning of the forest composition is modified by temperature increase in the atmosphere as a result of global warming. Dry and biodiversity of the dry and sub-humid lands are affected by the temperature and rainfall patterns changes encountered. Dry lands are already under stress due to the conversion of land to agriculture, introduction of the invasive species, fire regimes alterations, and pollution hence are vulnerable when hit by other climatic changes (McCarthy 100-105).
Climatic changes have also given rise to desertification due to the cutting down of forests, loss of indigenous species. These species have been exposed to lack of water, pastures, and the eruption of diseases hence the resultant becomes death. Drought has been increased and thus spread of wildfires which have impacted the conservation of wildlife. Migration patterns of wildlife has also been affected by climatic changes due to the unreliability of rainfall hence the animals lack food and water. Climate change leaves animals with the option of resisting the changes and on the process the habitats die off and also their living behavior is altered.
Climatic change also affects birds in that, their behavioral breeding patterns change since they are dependent on the climate for their performance and survival. Extremely harsh climatic conditions may lead to the extinction of rare bird species hence the cultural heritage of a nation will be lost. In the Arctic, the consequences of climate change influence the animals, environment, and human’s living conditions most especially the indigenous people who depend solely on the natural environment and resources hence their economic and cultural aspects are greatly affected. Thawing ground disrupts transportation, buildings and infrastructure of the Arctic regions. The ultraviolet light exposed to the surface of the earth affects the plants, animals, and people (cancer) living in that area (Science Daily 2007). These radiations also lead to increased resistance to drugs thus vaccines available become ineffective to the patients. “The dumping down of the T-cell component of the immune system may alleviate diseases, hence potential health effects of increased ultraviolet radiations could mean reduced efficacy of vaccines”(UNEP 2003).
Global warming cause’s late freeze-up which is positive since the arctic communities will collect better whitefish, clamming, spotted hunting of the seal, accessible to caribou and driftwood. The negative impact of this climatic condition will be shorter periods of ice fishing, rough conditions of ice, thin ice which is dangerous, and increased periods of erosion and problems related to floods. Warm temperatures that are found in high altitude areas attract insects that carry diseases and eventually affect animals and human beings hence the general health security in communities will be impacted (McCarthy 110-120).
Countries that were dependent on agriculture are affected by global warming which has led them to be begging Nations since there is no water, hunger pangs, and the ‘grain baskets’ are characteristics of these nations. This in turn leads to soaring of food prices to possible highs which the common man cannot afford which has forced many people to skip meals whereas others have opted to dig deep into their depleted wallets for survival. Global warming has decapacitated the tourism industry hence many people have been left jobless mostly the warders, game rangers, and tour guides in national parks. Heat waves ravaging Australia has caused loss of lives by many people since the heart works hard to the body cooler.
Thawing of ground is mitigated by people relocating their villages and homes to other place which will also affect transportation routes. With the presence of new opportunities present, communities will be advised to take advantage of them and utilize them to the maximum. Adverse impacts should be mitigated by adjusting the behavior of people for example; the people will be forced to take longer and different travel routes as a way of avoiding the poor routes of travel. Improvement of food security through reinvigorating effective traditional systems of food is mitigation against global warming since it provides better diets and fewer damages to the environment.
Scholars and scientists have agitated for ‘green’ economy and consumerism to combat the climate changes. They have encouraged planting of trees which will absorb excessive carbon dioxide from the atmosphere hence arresting global warming processes and climate change. Wanton destruction of trees will be managed once people find other ways of cooking. Wood energy has been over relied on thus energy saving cookers need to be introduced. The youths in different communities need to be involved in environment conservation since they are a zealous group.
Educational campaigns and outreach programs need to be used to bolster the fight against global warming because many skeptics and anti-environmentalists have not been able to rest as they have been working hard in spreading propaganda and demystify findings of the scientist on this subject. A top down approach has also been used successfully in providing information to the public about climate change and global warming. They have also given a solution on how to combat it through activities like solid management of waste.
It takes global efforts to forestall environmental changes and crisis. Sustainable development through new inventions should be encouraged. “Freedom from climate change threat is one of the key freedoms for which every country will tackle responsibly. If not ensured other freedoms such as freedom from hunger, terrorism and injustice could be equally threatened.”